Thursday, July 31, 2014

Flame Caller (World Aflame #2) by Jon Messenger Review

Hello readers! Today I have another review for you guys. A "new" to me Paranormal series that is promising and sure to be up come of your alleys! This book is part of a series, however I will not be covering this as a series review. I posted my review yesterday of book one. You can find that review by clicking here. I had a feeling that my thoughts on the series would drastically change after book one, and I was correct, so in this instance I wanted each book reviewed separately. Also, I just found out that the series isn't complete and there will be at least one more book (I hope to have more info on that topic soon). Today on the chopping block is Flame Caller, book two in the World Aflame series by Jon Messenger. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a little bit about the book and our author.

                                  THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,

                                  THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,

                                  THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,

                                  THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

White Halls is no longer a sleepy little town. Its houses lie smoldering on their foundations. The residents take refuge in their homes, afraid to leave. And the town’s prodigal son and newest Wind Warrior, Xander Sirocco, has fled.

Xander survived the first assault on his life by the Flame Caste, but it’s at a great personal cost. He and Sammy are left to bury his family and tend to his grandfather, who lies in a coma.

With the weight of the world on his shoulders, he can’t help but feel the fight against the Fire Caste is hopeless. It seems that way, that is, until he learns of a secret race of Elementals, embodiments of the elemental powers that the different castes wield. With the power of the Elementals comes a chance to save not just the Wind Warriors and Sammy, but the world itself.

Emboldened, he sets off to find the Wind Elemental and with it, the hope for his survival. Too bad no one has seen the Wind Elemental in generations and now thinks she’s just a myth. As he quickly learns, however, the Fire Elemental isn’t a myth. It’s real and it has a secret plan for his girlfriend.

And it won’t stop until Xander is dead.

Can I just add before we go on that the covers for this entire series are absolutely phenomenal. Seriously. Kudos to the cover author because they are fantastic. Wow! 

Jon Messenger

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through multiple combat and humanitarian deployments. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Find Jon Messenger

Before we get to my thoughts on Flame Caller, check out this awesome book trailer that was created for the release last summer! Book trailers are seriously one of my favorite things to watch and yet so many authors don't make them. This one is amazing. Way cool!

My Thoughts:

Okay, to anyone who read my review of Wind Warrior, you will remember that it definitely wasn't my favorite book ever, but I did highly praise Messenger's ability to craft this new paranormal world. My biggest complain was that the branding of the book was a little off. I highly criticized the fact that it's marketed as an NA when it is definitely not an NA in any aspect other than the age of the character. Unfortunately that is my biggest complaint for book two as well. HOWEVER I am not going to get that again here, why? Because book two was AMAZING. Seriously. I don't know what changed between books one and two but book two blew my socks off.

I'll start with the few negative things I have to say about this novel. And they can both be related to the first book. The language in this book does not read like an NA. Not in any way, shape or form. I was particularly confused at one part of the novel in which something terrible (no spoilers here) happens to Xander and all he can say is "I'm just pissed". He's "pissed"? Wooowwww. Alert the masses. Xander is "pissed". Again, in an NA there should be a whole hell of a lot more anger involved than just one word. I'm still not considering this an NA, I just can't.

Secondly, some of the characters really threw me off. We really were only introduced to two new characters in this book, but they were incredible. My problems are still with Sean and Jessica. I just don't see their point. At one point in the novel Xander says that Sean is the only person who can help them. Why? Because he can use the internet and read a weather map. I'm sorry, but a much better reason would have been "hey, I have to go save my best friend, I can't let him die". Instead he had to go with them because he was the only one who knew the way to Iceland without a map. Seriously? Wind Warriors can fly and detect air pressure changes. I'm pretty sure if they headed in the right direction that they would find a huge ass hurricane tearing up the planet, just saying. Jessica was still a brat, but not as bad as book one. If anything I think she shouldn't be there, but then again, this isn't my story. Aside from those two things, that's the only negative things I have to say about Flame Caller. That's it! Let's move on to the positives!

How about EVERYTHING ELSE?! Book two was everything I wanted from book one. It was emotional, it was suspenseful, and FULL of action. Man. I even read some parts a second time, just because so much happens! It was incredible. Huge props to Mr. Messenger for taking book 2 to the next level. The relationship between Xander and Sammy (my favorite character) was awesome and we see lots of great character development.

The villains in this book, well... the two villains in this book are truly terrifying. General Abraxas is one kick ass dude. He is ruthless and doesn't care who stands in his way, but once he "becomes one" with his destiny and teams up with our even bigger villain, the Fire Elemental, we have one unstoppable force. I want to talk about the Fire Elemental for a second, so precede with caution... **MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD** The Fire Elemental is a dragon living below the Earth and controlling the Flame Warriors. How kick ass is that? He definitely has a Smaug feel about him because he talks and is seriously evil. He has been trapped in his "much to small underground prison" by the Earth Elemental millennia ago to avoid his wrath at their plan to sustain humanity, who they have grown to like. The Flame Elemental plays a HUGE role in the very last chapter of the book and has be seriously wanting to hurry up and finish this so I can go read book 3. All I can say is that if Sammy dies, I'M going to be "pissed".

The Elementals, Fire and Wind are the two new characters in this book. They add so much to our story and really make this story great. Book three is about the Water Elemental so I can only imagine there will be a fourth book about the Earth Elemental. I have tweeted Messenger and am awaiting a reply on the status of the rest of the series. I will embed any reply I get here! Seriously though, those new characters make the storyline so much deeper and exciting to read. Xander has quite the adventure in store for him and I cannot wait to check it out.

All-in-all I am giving Flame Caller a 4.5 star rating! Much higher than my review of Wind Warrior, series, it was THAT much better in my opinion! For any readers who may have been on the fence about the series, go ahead and take the chance with book 1 because this second installment in the series makes up for it in spades! I am so glad I continued reading and cannot wait to present to you guys my thoughts on book three Water Shaper ASAP!
Where can you get yours?
Click the links below to get your copy of Flame Caller today!
Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Jon Messenger's Flame Caller, book two of his World Aflame series! I had a feeling that this book was going to blow book one out of the water and I was definitely correct! I am starting book 3 as soon as I hit publish on this post and will be back real soon to give you my take on it! Until then, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wind Warrior (World Aflame #1) by Jon Messenger Review

Hello readers! Today I have another review for you guys. A "new" to me Paranormal series that is promising and sure to be up come of your alleys! This book is part of a series, however I will not be covering this as a series review. I will cover one reason in detail later, but the other reason is because there are 3 books out in this series as of now, but I'm not sure if that is all of them. I can think of at least one more that may come out? So I'm doing at least book one solo. I may do books 2 and 3 together for you guys later this week but for now, here is book one. Today on the chopping block is Wind Warrior, book one in the World Aflame series by Jon Messenger. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a little bit about the book and our author.

                                  THE EARTH GIVES WAY TO THE SEA,

                                  THE SEA BOWS BEFORE THE WIND,

                                  THE WIND FEEDS THE FLAME,

                                  THE FLAME BURNS THE WORLD OF MAN DOWN TO THE EARTH.

The sleepy town of White Halls harbors a dangerous secret. On a picturesque street, two houses down from a lovely little park, in a quaint little home with a wraparound porch, lives a family that seems rather normal. Sure, their twenty-year-old son, Xander, still lives at home, but he’s going to college and dating the leader of the schools top sorority. It’s all very… normal.

However, when a man is miraculously saved from being hit by a bus, Xander’s life turns in to the living embodiment of the tornadoes he can suddenly create with a flick of his wrist. Whether he wants this gift or not, Xander must learn to use his new ‘super power’ quickly if he wants to survive. For his kind is a dying race, and when this sleepy town has a sudden influx of new, blonde, fire wielders, no one is safe, especially Xander. It doesn’t help that one of these blondes happens to be the most beautiful girl he has ever seen. Xander can’t deny the instant connection he feels to her so, when she tries to kill him, it certainly makes things complicated.

Can I just add before we go on that the covers for this entire series are absolutely phenomenal. Seriously. Kudos to the cover author because they are fantastic. Wow!

Jon Messenger

Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Since graduating from the University of Southern California in 2002, writing Science Fiction has remained his passion, a passion that has continued through multiple combat and humanitarian deployments. Jon wrote the "Brink of Distinction" trilogy, of which "Burden of Sisyphus" is the first book, while serving a 16-month deployment in Baghdad, Iraq.

Find Jon Messenger

Before we get to my thoughts on Wind Warrior, check out this awesome book trailer that was created for the release last summer! Book trailers are seriously one of my favorite things to watch and yet so many authors don't make them. This one is amazing. Way cool!


Before I get into my actual review I just want to say a few things pertaining to starting a paranormal series. Paranormal is my absolute favorite genre. Here in the past few years this new sub-genre has emerged in the field of paranormal: elemental fiction. Elemental fiction is amazing and I can't get enough of it. In fact, I have even toyed around with a few ideas of my own for books that could fit into this genre. On that note, it is getting really hard to distinguish between books, because, unfortunately, many of them are reading alike. There are so many original ideas and each new series has a twist on the sub genre, but as a whole I only can wonder how long it can exist before there are simply no more ideas to write on. Just my thoughts.

Secondly, and more importantly, the first book of any series is usually the most difficult to write and read. Not only do you have to create the entire plot, characters, etc. When you are a paranormal author, you have to create and entire world. It's a rather large shoe to fill and unfortunately I think it is why so many paranormal authors slip through the cracks. Above any other genre, I have so much respect for paranormal authors. Any author who can successfully create and run their own world seriously has more imagination that many of us mere readers could possibly imagine.

My series reviews are extremely popular and among my favorite to write, but I wanted to take a step back and do something a little different with this series and rather than rate it as a whole, I am going to rate each book individually. That way I can adequately review each book on an individual basis. 

My Thoughts:

Wind Warrior was a book I picked up on a whim. It was suggested to me by a fellow blogger and, being on an elemental kick, I decided to take the bait. I picked up my copy (free) from B&N and was elated to discover that our author, Jon Messenger, is a male. Seriously this excites me more than it should. I love reading, but since starting this blog I have not had the opportunity to review the work of a male author that I enjoyed (I've only done one other one and I'd rather not rant about how bad it was again). Anyway. After reading Messenger's bio I was excited to see what he would bring to the table. This was a whole new adventure for me and also a new adventure into the world of Clean Teen Publishing (who I am still slightly confused about). An adventure that, in the end, proved worthwhile.

Let me start out with the my negative thoughts first. Primarily, I had no idea where to place this novel. Is it YA? Is it NA? Well... That's a great question. It's cast features main characters who claim to be 20 years of age and in college. So... NA. In my thoughts? No.

Xander is a 20 year old man who lives with his parents while going to the local college. He is nearing completion and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. Common 20 year old problem, right? I can definitely relate. I am 22 and just graduated and am in the same boat. Welcome to the party Xander. Well, unfortunately that's where Xander's comparison to any other 20 year old end. Xander does not have a job. In fact, Xander is a 20 year old and seems rather spoiled and lazy to me. He is super laid back and never even so much as utters a curse word in this 150 page novel. Seriously. This whole read was entirely too friendly for my liking. Xander lives at home, is a 20 year old man, and is completely coddled by his family. His mom knocks on his bedroom door and sits on his bed to comfort him ans he lies face down under the covers when Xander is having a rough day. Xander's home life is only part of the problem.

School is even more confusing. In the beginning of the story Xander asks his best friend Sean "what are you doing today after school?" I'm sorry... what? He is in college. Who says that? They consistently talk about "school". Not college, not class, "school". Maybe it is just me, but what 20 year old college kid talks about his lecture halls as though it's an 8-3 schedule? Even worse, Xander talks about how he has to "go home after school and finish his homework before dinner". Seriously guys. I had a really hard time with the beginning of this novel. Xander is a child. In my personal thoughts, this book DEFINITELY should be about a 16 year old boy. This "college" thing definitely did not do it for me. As a 22 year old, recently graduated college male, I was extremely offended by Xander. I had to work my ass off through school and definitely didn't make a joke about it. I just think college should be written about more seriously than this story took it. If Xander is going to be a 20 year old, then why is he acting like a child. Get a job dude.

On that same note, Xander's "girlfriend", Jessica. Okay. I know it sounds like I'm ripping this novel apart, but hear me out readers. Jessica is president of the most popular sorority on campus. Jessica is dating Xander. A 20 year old immature boy who has no sense of a college aged male and lives with his parents. Please someone show me where the president of a sorority would ever date this boy. EVER. They wouldn't. End of story. Jessica could be cool, except, this is a college age girl who spends the first 50 pages of the book begging Xander to accompany her to the Formal. Are you kidding me? What kind of college is this. I don't care WHO you are, if you are the president of the sorority and this is your boyfriend, you are not begging him to come to your Formal. Seriously. This is like a high school drama all over again. Can I remind you guys again that we are talking about a college? Not a freshman in college either. This is a sorority president. Definitely a senior. Who acts like the pompous head of the cheerleading squad who is gunning for homecoming queen. Sorry guys, this whole setting just REALLY rubbed me the wrong way.

The last negative aspect I need to cover is Xander's reaction to the sudden acquisition of his powers. Instead of being quiet, scared, or reserved about them like a normal person, what does Xander do? BROADCASTS THEM TO HIS FRIEND. Seriously. he drags his friend to an abandoned field "after school" and then shows him all these awesome things he can do with these powers that, wait for it, he just got YESTERDAY! *sigh* Where is that meme again:
There we go. Seriously. I really hated the way that Xander's powers were introduced. I feel like there were definitely better ways to go about this. The Spiderman approach would have worked amazingly here. Let the boy get familiar with his powers over the course of some time. Not one night. Give me a break. He is 20 and he has homework and stuff. How ever did he find the time to perfect his new-found powers?

You are probably thinking, "damn Ethan, did you like this book at all?" To that I will go ahead and say that I actually really liked this novel in the end. Once I got passed the beginning, I realized this was something I could definitely get on board with. In fact, I already have books 2 and 3 on my Nook and ready to go. I had to force myself to stop reading so I could write down my thoughts before books 2 and 3 changed my mind, because I can already tell they are about to blow book one OUT OF THE WATER.

The elemental "element" of this story was SPOT ON. I love the thought of only one elemental caste being allowed to live on Earth at one time, that makes for an amazing story. I won't give any spoilers away to interested readers, but the battle that book one sets up is going to be amazing. I can really get on board with that. The supporting characters that Xander meets once he begins to train with his powers are awesome and really give the story some much needed depth. Xander has an awesome "family" of Wind Warriors who are going to prove to be pretty awesome in the end, even for a bunch of "old people".

The redeeming quality of book one for me was the introduction of Sammy's character. Sammy is Xander's new Fire-elemental love interest. Sammy is seriously an awesome selling point for this book. Her story is much more complex than that of Xander's, in my opinion. Her backstory is gripping and she brings some mystery and emotions to the story that were desperately needed. Her (*MINOR SPOLIER*) "betrayal" was one of the most interesting parts of the book. The feelings and emotions she shares for Xander and her father in the various scenes prove to be the most exciting in the whole novel. Sammy is definitely a character I cannot wait to read more about.

The book is told in 3rd person which is really interesting. I haven't seen that in a very long time. Most of the books I read are in 1st person POV and often dual POV these days. With the way Messenger gave a voice to this series we are able to read the story of multiple characters in a simultaneous timeline without ruining another characters story. The shifts in story were done at perfect times and I seriously applaud Messenger for that. It is very hard to write in that style.

The action in Wind Warrior is also pretty awesome. I really like the idea of reading elementals using their powers to fight, but with purpose. The Wind Warrior caste is definitely a group that is worth rooting for, especially once you hear their story. The fire elementals were written to be the perfect villains and General Abraxas was seriously an evil dude. I enjoyed that as well. From his sharpened teeth to all the sneering he did, he seems like the perfect villain... for a YA novel. *sigh*

Big picture wrap up here folks. Wind Warrior is a great read. IF you are looking for something completely safe and easy enough for most anyone to understand. The story is great, if you can see yourself through the beginning of the book. I would seriously give this book probably a 5 star review if only the setting and tone were different. I am very excited to read the next two books in the series and only hope that my fears are abated as soon as I jump back into the World Aflame. Overall I am going to give Wind Warrior a 3 star rating. It was definitely satisfying enough for me to want to continue the series, but the overarching problems I had really made it hard for me to fall in love with this read. Here's to hoping books 2 and 3 blow my socks off!

Where can you get yours?
What's the best news about this novella? It's free! Yes, you did read that correctly! Follow the links below to get your copy now!

FREE on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Alright readers, there you have it: my review of Jon Messenger's Wind Warrior! While this may not have been my absolute favorite novel of all time, I serious am giving Jon Messenger a huge round of applause because I can totally understand his vision for this series. I can only hope that I enjoy books 2 and 3 as much as I think I will! I know LOTS of people love this series so I just want to point out that mine is only one of hundred of reviews of this novel. Please read the series for yourself and don't solely make decision based off one reviewer! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Until next time, Happy Reading!

Guardian by Courtney Cole Cover Reveal

Hello and happy Wednesday readers! Ethan here bringing you another awesome cover reveal. These are always so awesome to be a part of, this time we have a new YA Paranormal for you guys. Here's the specs: 

Title: Guardian
Author: Courtney Cole
Genre:Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: August 28, 2014

Now the moment you've been waiting for, check out this beautiful cover for Guardian!


GUARDIAN Synopsis: Sometimes, things that go bump in the night are real. My name is Whitney Lane. I’m sixteen years old and at first, I thought I was crazy. I kept seeing shadows move along walls, and hearing whispers around corners, but whenever I looked, there was never anything there. Until one day, there was. Our world isn’t what we think. There are things around us, good things, bad things, scary things. Things that we tell ourselves aren’t real, but they are. They’re very real, and they’re terrifying. I’ve been swept up now, in a battle of good and evil, confused about love and what is supposed to be love, but isn’t. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t trust my emotions and I don’t know what is true. There’s only one thing I know for sure. Nothing is what it seems.

Courtney Cole 

Courtney Cole is a novelist who would eat mythology for breakfast if she could. She has a degree in Business, but has since discovered that corporate America is not nearly as fun to live in as fictional worlds. She loves chocolate and roller coasters and hates waiting and rude people. Courtney lives in quiet suburbia, close to Lake Michigan, with her real-life Prince Charming, her ornery kids (there is a small chance that they get their orneriness from their mother) and a small domestic zoo.      

Website |Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter SignUp| Pinterest

Special shout out to KP and her amazing team over at InkSlinger PR for allowing me to participate. You guys are always a such a pleasure to work with! Thank you so much! Until next time guys, Happy Reading!


Monday, July 28, 2014

If I Stay + Where She Went by Gayle Forman Review PLUS Trailer Analysis

Hello readers and welcome to the start of another week. Can you guys believe that August is nearly upon us? I sure can't! Coming up on Thursday is my 4 month blogiversary. I cannot believe it has already been that long. What an adventure we have been on readers! I hope for many, many more blogiversaries to share with ya'll!Today I have one of my specialties for you guys today! Excited? Well, you should be, because today I am bringing you guys one a OneGuysGuideToGoodReads specialty: a series review! “A series review?” You may ask, and I would respond “why yes, a series review my good chap”. Anyways, here’s how this works. Ethan here LOVES to read. He also loves to read series, HOWEVER, I have a hard time starting a series that I know isn’t completely out yet, because I oftentimes forget what happens by the time the next book in the series comes out and I usually do not have time for rereads or when I DO make time for a re read, the series ending is so horrible that I wish I hadn’t reread the books (*cough cough* Veronica Roth, I’m looking at you…). Anyway… As stated today I am bringing you guys another series review. If you guys have been following me, you would have seen a few months ago where I did a series review of Chelsea Fines The Archers of Avalon series and had a whole lot of fun with it, then last month I did a series review of Jennifer L. Armentrouts Covenant series which you guys really seemed to like! Then a week later I threw another series review in the form of K.A. Tucker's Causal Enchantment series at ya! They always go over well so I always get excited to write them. Today on the chopping block I have the EXTREMELY popular Gayle Forman YA series: If I Stay! Many readers are itching to get their hands on this one because of the movie coming out in the next few weeks so this is the perfect time to checkout the series.

Alright before we dive into specifics, here's the covers, synopses, and Goodreads links about each book plus a little about the author, Gayle Forman.

Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it's the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life.

And three years he's spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good - or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman is an award-winning, internationally bestselling author and journalist. She is the author of Just One Day and Just One Year, and the companion e-novella Just One Night, as well as the New York Times bestsellers If I Stay and Where She Went. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughters.

Find Gayle Forman

Alright now that we've got the books and author intro out of the way. Let me show you guys the trailer for If I Stay which comes out August 22, 2014! In my thoughts I'll cover both books AND the trailer.

My Thoughts:

I won't lie to you guys, I was a little nervous going into this review because I know this series has HUGE acclaim right now and that I can be a little over critical of things that are "in". I have tried to take that into consideration in writing this review. Let me start at the bottom and work my way forward. It'll make sense, just stick with me. I actually only read this series after I saw the movie trailer!

The Trailer
Okay. My reaction upon seeing the trailer is "woah, I don't like cheesy love stories, but this looks amazing". That cast looks great, the music picked for the trailer looks like it fits the situation spot on. I definitely want to see this film. Oh wait. It's based off the bestselling Gayle Forman book? I should probably see what the hype is about!

If I Stay

Wait... are you guy sure this is the same book that awesome trailer was based on? No. I'm not being funny. Not at all. In fact there is nothing funny about If I Stay. No, you're right, it isn't a comedy, but uh... could it have been any more depressing?

Okay. I will just start out by saying I was not a huge fan of If I Stay. This was my first foray into Mrs. Forman's work and I almost couldn't finish it. I have been told that maybe it's because I am a guy, but I really just did not care for this story as much as many people undoubtedly have. I read the whole thing in one sitting, it was a very easy read and I really liked that about it, but even for a YA novel it just seems so... "young". Okay, before you start seething from my thoughts, let me get some of the positive aspects of the book out of the way.

I love the storyline. I'll be as spoiler free as possible here. I thought the story of Mia being the sole survivor in a horrible accident would make for a story with a great plot and full of emotion. On that front, Forman definitely does not disappoint. The book is sad to nearly the point of tears, but I almost wonder why it needed to be so damned depressing? I felt all the feels that I was supposed to, but in the end, I just didn't see why. Mia's family was great and I loved how Forman told us their story in the form of flashback as often as possible. It was a nice touch. I'll come back to the flashbacks in just a bit.

Okay here's a few of my bigger negative thoughts about If I Stay. First off, those flashbacks were ridiculously crazy. They were in no order and they seriously come out of nowhere. At times I didn't know if I was reading the present or a flashback so it made the story really hard to follow at times. Most of them added to the plot, but some... not so much. My thinking here is that this was a 200 page novel. I was much more worried about Mia in the present than all these back stories that didn't mean anything in the end.

Second problem. The trailer makes Adam out to be one of the biggest characters of the movie, which is great, except oh yeah wait... He isn't hardly in the book. Sure Mia has a boyfriend, yes he is there, and yes it is very heartbreaking, but at no point in this book did I think Adam was as big of a character as he should have been. He was her boyfriends for God's sake. he should have been WAY more of a primary character than her now dead family. Maybe it was just me, again, but him being all there and stuff for her (even canceling the defining show of his career, which I totally understand) and Mia just kind of being like "meh" was pretty hard for me to take in.

I loved the characters of book one. Mia, Kim, Adam, Teddy, the family. Seriously, they were all great, I just wish we had seen more of them. More of them alive, that is. My biggest issues were with Mia's character as a whole. The story is gut wrenchingly emotional but Mia really got on my last nerve. Unfortunately that didn't change in book two. I'll get there in a second though.

All-in-all I am giving If I Stay a 3 Star overall review. I know that may seem a little harsh, and it kind of is, but I really really disappointed by this read. I really hoped it would meet the hype and not just be another read that's ridiculously overrated by the masses. Judging by the trailer I had really high hopes that were ultimately crushed. If the film is half as good as that trailer makes it look then I have no doubt that I will enjoy it far better than the book.

Where She Went 
I will start out by saying the most important thing about this book. I liked it WAY more than If I Stay! My biggest issues were, again, with Mia.

I'll go ahead and knock all the negatives out of the way first this time. The very first line of the synopsis gives away my biggest problem: "It's been three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life." Wait. WHAT?! You mean to tell me after all that she left him? Oh yeah. That was the tipping point for me with Mia. I am just done with her. Book two, thankfully, takes place from Adam's POV three years after book one. Adam had shot to superstardom when his band, Shooting Star, hits the scene in a huge way. Essentially they are the One Direction of this book universe. Adam is the biggest thing since sliced bread, yet he cannot get over the devastating loss of his one true love, Mia. Why did Mia leave Adam? Because she is selfish. No seriously, I'm not going to run the entire book here but there is a confrontation and it was THE DUMBEST thing I've ever heard. Mia treats Adam like absolute crap and yet we're still supposed to love her? No. Mia has basically ruined Adam's life and now we have to forgive her. Like I said, no spoilers, but the scene in question takes place atop the Brooklyn bridge. The same bridge I would have pushed Mia off of, had I been Adam. I don't use memes, EVER, but this seems appropriate here:
The angst is STRONG with this one. Now it has come to my attention that maybe I don't like this aspect of the story because it really does hit close to home with me. Guy treats girl like princess, guy gets left out in the cold. Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone has been there, but I felt like I seriously could relate better to Adam more than many other characters I have read. Adam was extremely misunderstood and really pushed aside in book one so I was really glad to hear all about his life. Adam is a great character and may be added to the list of my favorite male book characters, which is the only reason I am reviewing book two so high. Adam has a great story. Again, like book one, I read this in one sitting. The difference being that I read this one so fast because I was in love with it, not because I wanted to hurry up and finish it!

The interesting thing about Where She Went is that is takes place over the course of a single day yet so much happens. We see a remarkable character transformation from Adam, and thankfully a somewhat happy ending. This book also featured heavy use of the flashbacks which were just as distracting this time around, except this time they added to the story. I love classical music more than I like rocking out, so you would think I would appreciate the class and elegance of Mia's story... wrong. Adam seriously kept me interested from page one.

The emotions were in check and well written, Adam's character development was phenomenal, and the ending was.... somewhat satisfying (you can tell that it was the easy way to please fans). I am so glad I didn't stop after book one because book two really hit it out of the park. If there was a way I could have JUST read book two, I probably would have. IN FACT here's my suggestion. Let's ditch this whole two book thing and just make it one book. One book in two parts. It'd still only be about 400 pages and I would have been way happier. I cannot imagine having had to wait 2 years for this second novel in the series to come out, I would not have been happy, at all.

Overall I am giving Where She Went a solid 4.25 rating I had lots of problems with this read as well, but nowhere near the issues I had with book one. I highly recommend this read, however book one needs to be read first so it's really a moot point.  Take it however you will readers, but book two is well worth suffering through book one!

Where can you get your copy? Click the links below to be taken to Gayle Forman's store pages!
*Disclaimer $4.99 is rather pricey for an ebook. Just saying*

Alright readers, there you have it. My series review If I Stay by Gayle Forman. It may not have been my favorite series of all time, but I'm still glad I check it out before the film's release later this summer (8/22). I know LOTS of people love this series so I just want to point out that mine is only one of thousands of reviews of this series. Please read the series for yourself and don't solely make decision based off one reviewer! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! Until next time, Happy Reading!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fire Spell by T.A. Foster Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

Hello readers and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for T.A. Foster's Fire Spell, book 3 in her Ivy Grace Spell series! I am a big fan of Mrs. Foster's work so being chosen to participate is a great honor. I am going to be offering a review for my tour stop. Below you will find an amazing giveaway, great graphic, buy links, the synopsis, and all kinds of information about our author, T.A. Foster! Enjoy your stop!

This is the third book in the Ivy Grace Spell series.

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About Fire Spell:

Ever since her trip to New Orleans, Ivy Grace’s life just hasn’t been the same. Her magic is stronger, her stories more popular than ever, but something is missing. After she opens a forgotten inheritance from her grandmother, she learns the key to who she is and who should have her heart is in Charleston. She travels to the romantic city in search of answers, only this time everything she cherishes is at stake. Can Ivy’s Time Spell answer all her questions or will it bring her and her family closer to danger? In a race against time Ivy does all she can to rid the world of the darkest evil and save the men she loves.

closeup of young adults kissing Image of a handsome athletic man on black background

Fire Spell buy links:





My Thoughts:

After writing several reviews on the topic of paranormal books lately, you guys have surely picked up on the hint that I have a thing for magic. Any book with magic is usually my cup of tea. Fire Spell definitely fit the bill for me!

This third outing by T.A. Foster is more fast paced and enthralling than ever before. I read the first two books in this series quite awhile ago, so I was worried about how reading this third adventure would work for me. My fears were quickly abated after the first page where I was welcomed back into Ivy's life like no time had passed. Note: I will be rereading and posting a series review at some point in the near future. I am always left feeling satisfied after reading a T.A. Foster read because of how well her writing flows. It isn't often that I find an author who I can read their book, just as though it were a conversation between she and I. Fire Spell read like that for me.

The storyline was gripping, the romance was "real" and didn't seemed forced at all, and the villain was definitely villain worthy! I feel like the ending wrapped up pretty well, but I'm really hoping for a book four! Fire Spell really did a fantastic job of answering some lingering questions I had about the series and did a great job of filling in the gaps I was seeing! A note on the romance: as any of my regular readers will tell you I like to make a note about the romance element of the novels I read. Fire Spell, or the whole Ivy Grace Spell series as a whole is full of romance, however, it does not control the story. I love that about T.A. Foster, she can write a great paranormal story with an awesome plot and the romance doesn't ruin anything. That is a rarity in stories such as this. I would say that as a guy I find this whole series to be a relatively "safe read". You won't feel dirty or embarrassed after reading this! I cannot wait to read more from T.A. Foster and this series.

This was a relatively short and very fast read for me so I'm having a difficult time reviewing it without saying too much to give away anything from the plot! I will definitely go deeper into my series review so as not to give away any of the plot to readers who haven't gotten their hands of this worthy read yet! Overall I give Fire Spell a 4-star rating! It's a great third edition in the Ivy Grace Spell series that will definitely leave you satisfied and begging for more Ivy, Jack, Finn and the rest of the amazing cast!

Check out the first two books in the Ivy Grace Spell series by clicking on their covers below!

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Now that you know a little bit about Fire Spell how about you check out this awesome giveaway that Mrs. Foster is hosting for us! Up for grabs is a $20 Amazon gift card! Who couldn't use that? Enter now!
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And before you leave, here's a little but about our author, Mrs. T.A. Foster
T.A. Foster

T.A. Foster is a Southern girl whose heart and spirit are connected to the beach. She grew up catching rays and chasing waves along the North Carolina Outer Banks and now resides in the state with her adventurous pilot husband, two children and two canine kiddos. T.A. has an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate degree in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. When she’s not chasing her two-legged and four-legged children or trying to escape for date night, you can find her reading, writing or planning her next beach trip.  

Find T.A. Foster

Website ** Twitter ** Facebook ** Goodreads*

Alright readers there you have it, my blog tour stop for T.A. Foster's Fire Spell! As always I'm giving a HUGE thank you shout out to the amazing KP and the team over at InkSlinger PR for allowing me to participate! It's always such an honor to work with such an awesome company! Until next time readers, Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Horde Without End by Nazarea Andrews Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

Hello readers and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Nazarea Andrews The Horde Without End! Book 2 in her The World Without a Future series! I am a huge fan of Nazarea's work and this series so being chosen to participate is a great honor. I am going to be offering a review for my tour stop. Below you will find an amazing giveaway, the first chapter of the book, buy links, the synopsis, and all kinds of information about our author, Nazarea Andrews! Enjoy your stop!

Here's the cover and official synopsis for Horde:

It was supposed to be over…

Returning from Haven 18 was supposed to be the end. But nothing is ever easy—and in a world full of zombies, finding the missing is next to impossible. There are breadcrumbs. Tiny clues. But what are a few tiny clues in a world of the dead?

Nurrin is desperate to find her brother, but that will mean trusting Finn O’Malley. A man shrouded in secrets, who kills as easily as breathing. And the more she learns about him, the more questions she has. But she has learned one thing—the zombies are changing. Adapting. And this time, the Haven walls won’t keep them out.

Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog. She is the author of Girl Lost, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton  Series.

Find Nazarea Andrews

Read the synopsis and all about Nazarea? How about a special except for you guys in the form of Chapter One of Horde? Here ya go!

Chapter 1. Broken Pieces

She hasn’t cried. She doesn’t cry for me—but I know how fragile she is.

I want to break her. I want to push her hard enough to see her shatter. I want to see the shards of her on the ground.

How fucking beautiful would she be, when she put herself back together? She would. Nurrin is too stubborn to do anything but survive.

Nurrin is a first, born to a world of death. She is innocent of the life before the change. She has never known anything but Hale Halls, razor wire, and walls. She has never known she could be anything but a survivor.

I watch the sun rising over the canyon. In another world, people might have exclaimed over the beauty, stared at it in wonder.

To me, the red-washed sky means only one thing: it’s almost time to leave.

I glance over my shoulder. She retreated to the sleeping area a few hours ago, after we fought over leaving immediately. I think there is a part of her that hopes Collin will come back. A supply run wouldn’t be completely unjustified.

My lips twist.

Collin wouldn’t leave the Hole, not unless he had to. Not when he knew that it’s the only place I would take Nurrin. He’s gone because something is wrong.

Alright readers! Now that you know a little bit about the book and about our author Nazarea, I am sure you are excited for Horde! I am a huge fan of this series and absolutely loved book two of the series. Below you will find my review of The Horde Without End. You can check out my review of book one, The World Without a Future by clicking here! Nazarea is an amazing author and you will not be disappointed by this second book in her series! Check out these graphic promoting the release of Horde and the buy links below!

My Thoughts:

I've already told Mrs. Andrews this so I'll go ahead and tell you all as well: I hate zombies. I don't like zombie movies, I don't do zombie books. In fact, I kind of think the whole "zombie apocalypse" thing has gotten a little out of hand and needs to go away. It's everywhere and I have never really understood it. My motto when it comes to zombies has always been "why mess with the living dead when you can mess with the un-dead" because lets face it: vampires are way cooler than zombies. Well, I have to say that The World Without a Future and now The Horde Without End have definitely caused me to bite my tongue. I loved book one, but surely Nazarea wouldn't strike gold twice... WRONG.

Holy hell guys. I LOVED book two. Horde was everything I wanted and then some. I could not stop reading. This was one of those "you better hope you have the whole day free because once you start you wont stop" kind of reads. Wow. Just wow. I didn't even want to stop for bathroom breaks when I was flying through this! Nazarea had my fully and undivided attention the entire time. I said a few lines I'd like to repeat from my review of book one because I think that are equally as important here.
Our story is one that is thrilling and honestly, scary as hell. Unlike other post-apocalypse worlds, Andrews doesn't paint a pretty picture filled with a whole lot of hope for the future. It's nasty, it's deadly, and it's scary. Terrifying. I can see where Andrews has gotten some of her ideas based on her self-proclaimed love of zombies, but she definitely puts her own twist on it. Unlike other novels, this series was not about fighting off the zombies, it was about surviving a world with zombies. The inhabitants of the Havens (new cities) know their chances are slim and are just doing what they can to survive. Often their attempts are in vain as Havens have begun to fall. Now Nurrin and Finn are on a wild adventure to find Dustin and Collin after discovering they weren't at the cave where we left them in book one. 

From what's left of Vegas to the sights and sounds of the "glamorous" Haven One, Nurrin and Finn meet a few more awesome characters on their journey including Kendall Buchman, President of whatever is left of the United States! Buchman is such an interesting character that keeps you guessing until the end. He was a great addition to this series. There are a few really emotional scenes that made me fall in love all over again with Nazarea's writing. It's so "real" that you feel like you could reach out and comfort the characters yourself. That's how close I got to them in just shy of 200 pages. Seriously. Great second outing Nazarea!

Spoiler free BUT I just have to say HOLY ZOMBIE HELL that ending! How do you expect us to wait for book 3 after throwing that cliffhanger at us Nazarea! I have to know what happens to the gang! Also, let me just say that while I still am not a huge Finn fan, he did redeem himself considerably by the time Horde ended. I guess I will just have to wait for book 3 to make my final thoughts know. Question for Nazarea: does anybody know how many books are going to be in this series? Because I could read at least ten more. Just saying! :)

As an NA book this worked PERFECT. The language is very gritty and can be vulgar at times, as with any NA novel. Just a warning that this is not a read for children or teens. The novel actually only has a couple of true "sex-scenes" which is good for people like me who get tired of reading them all the time, BUT the novel had lots of sexual tension and more than a few extremely steamy moments. Overall though, they were very well written and developed the characters immensely. This book is written in dual POV split into 4 parts. Hearing both characters take on the scenes was particularly interesting. I LOVE NA and I am so glad I read this, because it gives me new hope for the future of the genre. Thank you Nazarea Andrews for that! 

Overall I give Horde two HUGE thumbs up, and 4.5 stars! Seriously an amazing read that will definitely be making it's mark on my Best Reads of 2014 list!  


Where can you get yours?

What's the best news about this amazing novel? It's only $2.99! Yes, you did read that correctly! Follow the link below to get your copy now!

I know you guys have been spoiled beyond belief, but I have yet another AMAZING giveaway for you. This time from Nazarea Andrews. Up for grabs is a $50 Amazon gift card and a Zombie Survival Pack! Super easy entries so make sure you enter that ASAP! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright readers there you have it, my blog tour stop for Nazarea Andrew's The Horde Without End! As always I'm giving a HUGE thank you to the amazing KP and the team over at InkSlinger PR for allowing me to participate! It's always such an honor to work with such an awesome company! Until next time readers, Happy Reading!